The Founders of Kappa Alpha Psi
January 5, 1911
Indiana University
Diggs.jpg (9426 bytes)Elder W.
Diggs

Revered Founder Elder Watson Diggs


(1883-1947)

"The Dreamer"

Born in Madisonville, Kentucky, Elder Watson Diggs graduated from the Indiana State Normal School (now the Indiana State Teachers College) at Terre Haute, Indiana, in the Spring of 1908, and entered Howard University in 1909. In June 1916 he was granted a degree by Indiana University. His leadership ability, sincerity of purpose, enthusiasm and dedication earned for him the respect of his fellows, and the office of the First Grand Polemarch of the newly established Fraternity. He held that office for six consecutive years (to December 1917), for this and other outstanding achievements, he was awarded the first Laurel Wreath, the Fraternity's highest recognition for achievement, in 1924.  Upon America's entrance into World War I, Diggs resigned his principalship to enter the Nation's first Officer's School Training School at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, and was commissioned as a lieutenant.  Writing for the May 1916 issue of the Kappa Alpha Psi Journal, E. W. Proctor reflected the esteem in which Diggs was held with statement: "(He) will be graduated this June.  Our Grand Polemarch has been the alpha of every attempt directed toward some good end.  It is with great regret that we are about to loose him."  Diggs died November 8, 1947, and a public school in Indianapolis was named in his memory.

Dr. Ezra D. Alexander


(1892-1971)

Ezra D. Alexander was a native of Bloomington, Indiana.  Having been born and reared in that southern Indiana town. Founder Alexander had first hand acquaintance with the bias that led to the establishment of Kappa Alpha Nu.  Being a student at the University, from which he received his bachelor's and M.D. degrees in 1917 and 1919, he knew and learned to live with the existing social conditions.  He practiced medicine in Indianapolis.  In 1920 he married Mary Hunter, a teacher in the Indianapolis Public School system.  He was the non-voting member of the Grand Board of Directors until his death on September 29, 1971.

Dr. Byron Kenneth Armstrong


(1890-1980)

Byron Kenneth Armstrong of Westfield, Indiana, entered Howard University in 1909, met fellow Founder Elder Watson Diggs, and with Diggs transferred to Indiana University in the fall of 1910.  While at Indiana University he studied philosophy, mathematics, and sociology. By 1914, he had earned his master's degree from Columbia University and subsequently his Doctor of Philosophy from the Univesity of Michigan in 1940.  He held teaching positions in Florida, Indiana, Kansas, and Oklahoma.  During World War I, he served as an investigator for the Department of Labor.  His early and continuing efforts in the Fraternity interest earned him the Laurel Wreath in 1935.

Attorney Henry T. Asher


(1890-1963)

Henry T. Asher was born in Woodburn, Kentucky,  June 29, 1890, and moved to Bloomington where he graduated from high school in the spring of 1910.   In June of 1914, he was granted the Bachelor of Arts degree by Indiana University.   After one year of teaching at Lincoln Institute , Jefferson City, Missouri, Founder Asher entered the graduate school at the University of Illinois for the 1915-16 school year, but received the Master of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota in 1917.  In 1928, he was awarded the LL.B. degree by the Detroit College of Law.  Founder Asher died March 5, 1963.

Dr. Marcus Peter Blakemore


(1889-1959)

Marcus Peter Blakemore was born in Franklin, Indiana, and attended the public schools of Anderson. He was graduated in 1909 and entered the University in the fall of 1910.  A rugged individual, Founder Blakemore was determined to make a place in life for himself.  As a roommate of Founder Byron K. Armstrong, he became enthusiastic about the new Fraternity and contributed significantly to Kappa Alpha Nu. After leaving the University in 1911, he organized the Electric Engineering Company which he operated until he enlisted in World War I. He received his D.D.S. degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1923 and practiced until his death on October 9, 1959.

John Milton Lee


(1890-1958)

John Milton Lee, a personable, confident graduate from the Danville, Indiana high school entered the University in 1910 where he completed three years of pre-medical study.  Founder Lee was from the beginning an active and interested participant in the founding of Kappa Alpha Nu.  In 1915, he attended Temple University but was compelled to leave because of a death in the family.  In 1918, he enlisted in the 349th Field Artillery and served overseas as a sergeant first class and gunner.  His was the first all African-American battery to open fire on an enemy. Founder Lee fired the first shot.  He was associate editor of Modern Artillerymen, the official record of Battery F.  349th Artillery.  Helped organize,  and was for several years the president of, the Fairview Gold Club, the first Negro Golf Club in Pennsylvania.  In 1931 he married Mary Walker Robinson.  Vocationally, he was engaged in several enterprises.   For eight years, he conducted a successful catering business in Philadelphia; he organized and served as Vice-President and Secretary of the Mutual Emergency Union, a mutual aid company in Philadelphia.  He was also a member of the board of Managers of the Columbia Community Branch of the YMCA.  He died January 8, 1958.

Edward G. Irvin


(1893-1982)

Edward G. Irvin was born in Spencer, Indiana and graduated from Kokomo High School in 1910. In the fall of that year, he entered  the University and became a Founder of Kappa Alpha Nu, and served on the Fraternity's Incorporation Committee.  After leaving Indiana, Founder Irvin pursued a journalistic career.  After World War I, he served on the staff of the Indianapolis Freeman.  In March of 1922, he established The Shining Star, a weekly newspaper in Anderson, Indiana.  Within five years, without capital, he turned The Shining Star from a leaflet to an eight page, six column newpaper.  The success of this venture brought a bid from The Gary Sun for Irvin's services as its editor.  He accepted, but later resigned to become the sports editor with the Chicago Daily Bulletin.  Founder Irvin became the most loved Kappa man in the seventies and eighties.  He wore the Laurel Wreath.

Dr. Guy Levis Grant


(1891-1973)

Guy Levis Grant was born in New Albany, Indiana, the third of Robert and Lucy Grant's thirteen children, five of whom became members of Kappa Alpha Psi.   After the death of his father, Founder Grant became the head of his household and assumed the responsibility for the education of himself and his younger brothers.  After finishing high school, he entered Indiana University and graduated with the bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1915. In 1920, he received the D.D.S. degree from the school of dentistry.  Many played their roles in the making of his  history, but it was left to a few to see that it would be told. Dr. Guy L. Grant was involved in both the making of the history and the telling of the Story.  He was a constant source of inspiration in the preparation of this document. He collected and guarded the precious source material which eventually became the factual, supportive base, for the history.  He was named Grand Historian Emeritus.

George W. Edmonds


(1890-1962)

Founder Edmonds was born in Vandenburgh County, Knight Township Indiana on August 13, 1890.  He entered Carver Elementary School and Clark High School in Evansville, graduating in 1910.  In the fall he joined nine other students in founding Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.  After Founder Edmonds returned home for the summer of 1911, his father became ill with pnuemonia and died. His father had worked in the coal mines of Vandenburgh County for many years.   Being the eldest son, Founder Edmonds became the head of the family, thus preventing his returning to school. With the new responsibility of supporting his family, he took a job with the area coal mines and worked the railroad until he died of pneumonia on June 13, 1962.  Founder Edmonds married the former Willie Mae Forte and settled in Stevenson, Indiana.  They became the parents of one son, Noel.

Paul Waymond Caine


(1891-1922)

Paul Waymond Caine was born in Charleston, Indiana in 1891 and attended grade school and high school in Greencastle, Indiana. He entered Indiana University in 1909 and helped the other founders in organizing Kappa Alpha Nu. His pleasent disposition soon won many friends in the Greek Letter houses where he worked as a cook or housekeeper. These friendships enabled him to gain information that contributed to the organization of Kappa Alpha Nu. Because of a disatrous fire in the fraternity house where he was employed, he never finished his sophomore year. Paul W. Caine went into the catering business in his hometown, later attended Columbia University, set up a catering business in Gary, Indiana, and published a book on catering, which was copyrighted in 1919 by the Hurst Publishing Company. Founder Caine was instrumental in setting up the Gamma, Delta, and Zeta Chapters. He operated his own catering service in Evanston, Illinois. In 1922, he was fatally burned during an explosion of gaseous materials in his business.

Alexs.jpg (9040 bytes)Ezra D.
Alexander
Copy of Armstr.jpg (9006 bytes)Byron K.
Armstrong
Asher.jpg (9381 bytes)Henry T.
Asher
Blake.jpg (9174 bytes)Marcus P.
Blakemore
Caine.jpg (9017 bytes)Paul W.
Caine
Edmonds.jpg (9142 bytes)George W.
Edmonds
Grant.jpg (9567 bytes)Guy L.
Grant
Irvin.jpg (9505 bytes)Edward G.
Irvin
Copy of Lee.jpg (8907 bytes)John M.
Lee
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